NFL Says Sideline Photographers Will Have To Wear "Advertising" Vests

The NFL says that sideline photographers will have to wear branded vests with Canon and Reebok logos this year, according to Editor and Publisher.

The National Press Photographer’s Association is having none of it:

After receiving the NFL letter, NPPA Executive Director Jim Straight said, “We reaffirm our dissension on the vest’s logos based on our ethical standards, and we hope that our members – with the consultation of their employers – seek out professional and responsible ways to avoid endorsing a corporate product while acting in a journalistic manner.”

But, in his e-mail to E&P, Zibluk made clear a boycott would not occur, at least not one organized by his group. “What we’re more likely to suggest is that photographers cover the logos or turn them inside out. We’d recommend checking with their management, or clients if they’re freelancers, to make sure they have support.”

Making sideline photographers into walking billboards is a bit tacky, don’t you think?

NFL Tells Photog Group: Vests With Ads Will Stay [Editor & Publisher]
(Photo:B & M Photography)


Edit Your Comment

  1. gibsonic says:

    who looks at the photographers…put billboards on those cheerleaders (already NFL employees) and you would get MUCH more attention.

  2. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    Just cut out the logos!

  3. Sucko-T says:

    The NFL is the RIAA of sports, they don’t allow content to be put up on Youtube like the NBA does and they do this crap. I’d rather deal with crooked refs than support these money hungry idiots. A head coach wanted to wear a suit, but he had to wear a Reebok one if he was going to. STUPID!!!

  4. Husker-fan says:

    First the NFL starts their own channel, and high-jacks games from the regular networks. Then they make us pay to get that channel.
    Now they want to turn those who promote their product into shills for corporate interests not part of the NFL.

    I am slowly losing respect for the NFL.
    I already prefer the college game, but as these maneuvers occur, I find myself less and less interested in the NFL.

    I haven’t bought any NFL merchandise in over a year, and this is just another reason for me to avoid giving these money grubbers any of my hard earned cash.

  5. Buran says:

    @gibsonic: Journalists are not there to advertise one product over another. They are there to observe and report. Nothing more.

    NPPA Asks NFL To Reconsider Logos On Vests

    As an advanced amateur photographer, I support the NPPA in this matter.

  6. TechnoDestructo says:

    I think the best way to protest this would be for all those sports photographers to wear the Canon vest, but not use Canon equipment. That’d show ’em.

    (Seriously, though, Canon already gets all kinds of advertisement just from the presence of their cameras at sporting events, why the fuck would they be a party to this?)

  7. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @Husker-fan: Actually, the cable companies hijacked the NFL network, which used to be an ‘extended basic’ channel. See [] for details.
    ON THE OTHER HAND…the NFL pretty much told all cable subscribers (and non-DirecTv subs) to go to hell by extending their exclusive arrangement with DirecTv to carry out-of market games (“Sunday Ticket”).
    Maybe the cable thing is karma. Meanwhile, if I were ‘required’ to wear advertising, I believe I could non-verbally communicate my displeasure.

  8. RumorsDaily says:

    I really don’t care what’s on the vests of the photographers. I can understand why they’d care, but this affects me not at all.

  9. Husker-fan says:

    Thanks for the info. I didn’t know it was the money grubbers at Comcast who made it so I no longer have the NFL network.

    I won’t give the cable company any extra money, just as I won’t give the NFL any extra money.
    I’m not happy with either one, and aside from the basics, I won’t pay them extra. No extra cable packages, and no NFL branded merchandise in my foreseeable future.

    I’ll call the cable company and complain, but my wallet will do most of my talking, and it’s staying closed.

  10. SactoKev says:

    Please. Fuck the NFL, it has been ridiculous and unwatchable for years. NCAA rocks…

  11. Chicago7 says:


    Yeah, right. Sounds like we a Notre Dame fan in this thread.

  12. Bourque77 says:

    The question is do the photographers get in free. If the team/nfl is letting you make money off of them for nothing is there really much you can say? If they dont get in free thatd be like making spectators wear signs. The nfl could at least get creative and have the refs wear adverts for 1800 contacts or something.

  13. SactoKev says:

    @Chicago7: Not quite. Heck, I didn’t even attend a school with an especially notable football program.
    What I’m referring to in the lack of any sort of flow on NFL games. The massive delays between plays, the excessive showboating by half the players, and the blimp-sized egos of many players(trash talking their own teams…) have turned me off.

  14. mikeatnight says:

    I am so tired of seeing adverts everywhere I look now. I tried watching the Xgames over the weekend and have decided I have no use for rockstar, monster and red bull energy drinks. I finally just quit watching due to all the ads. Im going to start boycotting products that get in my way from now on.

  15. Kazari says:

    ASNE also protested this. First they complained to the league ([]) and then they complained to the people who matter: Canon ([]). Nothing has happened yet. These people are boneheads.

  16. ironchef says:

    and all press photographers must kneel before Zod!


  17. humphrmi says:

    @Bourque77: I think that most people’s objection with this is that all journalists get in free, however the print radio and T.V. journalists (for the most part) don’t stand by the sidelines, they’re up in the booths where they can’t be seen. And the T.V. cameramen are (for the most part) behind the camera and rarely do their streams cross. So what’s left is photo journalists, who are (1) on the sidelines (free or otherwise), (2) visible, and (3) real estate. But pesky journalistic integrity makes them not happy to run other company’s ads while doing their jobs.

  18. endless says:

    because giant white lenses just isnt enough.

  19. fredmertz says:

    I would care a lot more about this if I cared at all.

  20. TPK says:

    Maybe they should just make their own similarly styled labels and stick them on the shirts just under the logo. What does this label say?



  21. cde says:

    Depends on your definition of “free”. They get in “free” in exchange for the publicity the NFL gets in the press. No work, no free sideline.

  22. synergy says:

    @Meg: “Making sideline photographers into walking billboards is a bit tacky, don’t you think?”

    Have you watched any football in the last 10 years? I had to stop watching when the commercial breaks interrupted so much that I lost interest in what was going on in the game because it took so damn long to end.

  23. Trojan69 says:

    People who cover sporting events routinely wear shirts and jackets that identify their media entity. Why should they be getting free impressions of their commercial enterprise at an NFL (or collegiate) event?

    Do these self-important photogs refuse to drink from the logo-laden cups/bottles of water? Do they refuse to eat any of the sponsored food routinely provided to the media?

    The entity sponsoring/sanctioning an event has the complete right to demand specific identifying gear of anyone seeking accreditation. So long as the gear is not patently offensive, these whiners need to shut their yaps and just do their jobs.

  24. Rusted says:

    @Trojan69: Depends if they get something in exchange for being a walking billboard. My own view, is that if someone did not pay me to have their slogan or name on me or my possessions, I have the right to remove it.

    @synergy: No. Quit in 1995. It was getting ridiculous then. Turned off live television in 2004.

  25. Steel_Pelican says:

    @Trojan69: Their job is to take pictures of the game, not to advertise Reebok.

  26. gibsonic says:


    not sure why you commented me in your post. I’m not supportive of the advertising on the photographers. I’m just saying IF I WERE supportive of this type of advertising, it makes much more sense to put a big logo across the chest/ass of a cheerleader as opposed to the back of a photographer.

    clearly the NFL has the perception that is has all the control and the leverage in all of it’s relationships.

    because people/(Americans specifically) tend to have short memories and a lack of drive for sustained conflict, they will just let people bitch for a while and then it will die down and people will just learn to accept something they can’t change. It’s probably not a big enough issue for the photographers to boycott the games because after all, that is THEIR livelihood as well.

  27. supra606 says:

    This is just one more new aspect of the orgy of advertising the NFL is these days. I barely watch any professional sports any more because I’m disgusted by all of them (for all the advertising and for plenty of other reasons). It saved me a lot of time when I stopped watching several hours of football each Sunday and likewise with other sports.

  28. boandmichele says:

    @Chicago7: psh… he is right. and i hate notre dame. go vols!

  29. LoneRider says:

    @SactoKev: You say delays, I say TIVO, I have not watched a game in the last 2 or 3 years that I have not set the Tivo to record ( + 1.5 hrs of course). I will usually start watching about 1 to 1.5 hours after start time and come close to catching up at the end of the 4th quarter. I do basket ball the same way.

    If the game is only okay; I will watch the plays in slower fast forward, and hit the back 4 second button for decent plays.

  30. itsjos says:

    wow, this is kinda crazy… next the players uniforms will just be one big ad, welcome to the ad society

  31. alienorgy69 says:

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer had an article about this the other day. Their photographers hold their integrity above this (going as far as to black marker the Cannon logos on their camera straps) and asked someone within the NFL if they could tape over the jacket logos. They said they didn’t have a problem with that. The logos are miniscule anyway.

  32. savvy9999 says:

    The core issue is whether or not the photogs are actually employees (subcontractors?) of the NFL, or merely customers, or guests.

    Surely the NFL can decide who they let into their stadiums, or on to the field. That right is incommutable. But does the NFL have the absolute right to dictate what quasi-employees or invited guests or ‘customers’ wear on their premises?

    My guess would say yes, but this is a huge legal gray area. Can the NFL force police that patrol the sidelines (at the request and payment of the league) to wear clown hats?

  33. joeblevins says:

    Umm, these are ‘reporters’. These are just monkeys taking pictures at a game. This isn’t hard news, there isn’t any integrity issue here. They are photo-whores. They will take a picture of some 250lbs dude crashing into another big dude. WOW, you are too important to wear a vest?

    If they were in Iraq taking pics, sure, dont’ wear adverts. But this is just a game.

  34. racermd says:

    Another DVR user here. 30 second skip is a wonderful thing. Useful not only for the commercial breaks, but also for the ‘dead’ time between plays. Everything I want, nothing I don’t.

  35. Matthew says:

    It’s my understanding that the NFL also insists coaches wear official licensed gear on the sidelines instead of the dapper coats and hats their more dignified forebears wore. (Can you imagine Vince Lombardi dressed like today’s schlubs? I can’t.)

    I don’t know why seeing them modeled on portly old guys is supposed to make me want to buy garish windbreakers and track pants, but I guess it is. Personally, if my job required me to be on national television, I’d probably give at least two minutes of thought to what I was going to wear, and would probably try not to pick a get-up that made me look like a refugee from an assisted living facility for the developmentally disabled.

    The NFL’s coaches are the worst-attired in all professional sports, INCLUDING baseball managers, who don’t exactly command respect in the players’ uniform. And, like I said, I understand this is the way the league wants it.

  36. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    @doctor_cos: “Actually, the cable companies hijacked the NFL network, which used to be an ‘extended basic’ channel.”
    But the NFL is the one that jacked up the rates on the channel, forcing cable companies into a big game of chicken: lose money or jack up your consumers’ rates and piss them off.

  37. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    @itsjos: “next the players uniforms will just be one big ad, welcome to the ad society”
    Like in European football? The one with the round ball. It’s weird at first, but you get used to it.

  38. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    I like how sports reporters are taking the “ethical journalist” high ground here. COME ON! You take pictures of people who bash each other to bits for the enjoyment of others. You are not journalists. You’re important, but like the host of Entertainment Tonight, you’re not a serious journalist.

  39. jeffj-nj says:

    Ya know, for what it’s worth, I don’t think it’d be that bad if they advertised products they were actually using, like Canon or Sony or whatever. I don’t know why that makes a difference, but somehow it seems to.

  40. Haltingpoint says:

    Just another attempt at grabbing additional ad sales dollars.

    I’m actually surprised they haven’t attempted this with fans yet. It could actually provide value if they did it correctly.

    For instance, lets say they have a special “advertising section” of the stadium that only people with special tickets get to sit in. These tickets would be sold at a discounted price, but everybody purchasing one and sitting in the section would be required to wear a tshirt or something with an advertisers logo.

    Not only do the fans get value, but so does the NFL and advertiser. If they were smart they’d do some sort of promotion to give those ticket holders a product sample or something as well.

  41. shadowkahn says:


    what is your definition of a journalist? Mine is, someone who gathers information and reports it in a fair and objective manner. Sports reporters/photogs do that as well. No, it’s not *hard* news, but it is still journalism. There are basic ethical standards that journalists should follow.

    I find it interesting, especially considering how eager the general public is to portray journalists as sensationalist hacks in the back pockets of corporate bigwigs, that you would think it’s OK for journalists to run around advertising for corporations.

  42. nomad73 says:

    They should all start shooting with Nikon.

  43. orielbean says:

    How about instead of cuts to commercials, we cut to the cheerleaders and interviews instead?

  44. hustler says:

    maybe they can work out a deal to outfit photographers in michael vick jerseys.

  45. Trojan69 says:

    @Steel_Pelican: If their job is not to advertise Reebok, why is it their job to advertise Ch. X? Most of these folks proudly wear the gear representing their employer. If the protest is about being a shill, the point is lost when they shill their own.

    You say it might be a condition of employment? Fair enough. But they DO wear it. It is now a condition of access to wear a media vest/bib. Upon what principle do these folks now stand against such?

    These folks are given a chance to perform their art on incredibly exclusive turf/property. If they do not wish to wear an identifying vest or bib that is demonstrably not offensive (eg swastika), they may enjoy the coverage provided by others who respect the marketing rights of others.

  46. Soldier_CLE says that Hideo Kojima has to make MGS till the day he dies! says:

    @alienorgy69: Wow, a fellow Clevelander! I caught the same articles as well, and applaudes The Plain Dealer for such a stance.

    Personally, I’ve somewhat attributed this to reasons why Starter jacket sales slumped, and why maybe at best, I’ll see maybe a jersey or two worn, when the rest of civilization wears something more normal. NFL wear that is limited to one company, of which I don’t even like their athletic line, keeps me away from buying NFL related stuff, and I also agree that coaches not being able to wear the more dapper Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry suits of the past make the coaches look more and more rediculous (I still have nightmares of seeing Romeo Crennel in what looked like a big orange garbage bag, trying his best to look like a Head Coach, and not the next Jack O Lantern at a drunken Halloween party!)

    For that matter, the NFLs licensing deals for exclusitivity alone are enough for me not to watch a game (Including the Super Bowl, which is it’s own monstrosity… hardly about the game anymore.), the often regurgitated Madden series (Though I equally blame EA for such SHE-AT!), The often pretentious NFL films (Seriously, college football to me has more excitement, more action and more heart than any overpayed league of the same sport.), and, of course, Sally Struthers.

    I guess that explains why I travel 2 1/2 hours each direction for Saturday’s home games at the Horseshoe, instead of walking down the street from the Bingham to catch a game…

  47. notallcompaniesarebad says:

    @shadowkahn: “that you would think it’s OK for journalists to run around advertising for corporations” My point is that they are not journalists. They might as well be employed by the NFL.